In a few weeks time indie space RTS title Gemini Wars will be released on PC and Mac. We were fortunate enough to get hands-on with a preview build and check out a handful of missions from the campaign.
Gemini Wars is clearly a project born from a love and appreciation of old school RTS games. It’s a more straight forward title than recent entries in the genre. Structures available to build are kept to a minimum and units have clear uses, strengths and weakness. It’s therefore a wonderfully accessible title. It’s easy to fathom every aspect of Gemini Wars, but even still, a well crafted tutorial explains construction, combat and expansion to relieve any misunderstanding.
This simplicity does unfortunately also mean limited tactical scope. It’s very much like the original Command & Conquer and C&C Red Alert titles, where the larger force prevails. That is when all other variables are equal; there is fortunately some tactical scope with research and position.
Certain structures feature defensive weapons or deployable turrets and they pack some serious firepower. When your fleet of ships take on a defensive role around such structures it truly improves your chances. Additionally, even a single upgrade through researching and climbing the technology tree makes a significant difference. If you have the technological edge then a force half the size of your foes can win the battle, or at the very least hold out for reinforcements. Tactics therefore revolve around developing tech quickly and building up a decent defence around structures.
Structures, however, can only be built around certain solar bodies, such as mining platforms on asteroids and military bases and research centres in orbit around planets. Movement between these bodies is facilitated by a hyperdrive system on your ships and other solar systems can be accessed through wormholes, but once in orbit around a body, movement is painfully slow.
The slow movement is mostly due to the immense scale of each theatre of war. a solar system is a truly massive area and Gemini Wars achieves this scale marvellously. Commanding units and getting around is also a breeze thanks to the ability to zoom in to individual units and out to a strategic map, akin to Supreme Commander.
Our time with Gemini Wars allowed us to try a selection of missions from different stages of the campaign and it’s looking like a promising narrative. The cinematic are fairly antiquated when compared to it contemporaries, but some solid voice acting conveys the right tone.
Indeed Gemini Wars is shaping up to be a great space RTS title. But it’s the multiplayer that will truly measure its success. I for one can’t wait to get my hands on the full game when it’s released on June 8th for PC and Mac.